A Critical Analysis of the Status of Narco Analysis in India and Globally

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Written by:- Ms Ashima Mishra

INTRODUCTION

We all are aware of how the Narco Analysis has become a controversial debate in India and mainly it has been linked with high-class people and those poor and needy who gets involved in such illegal activities. It has been the easiest yet the most complicated way to spill out the truth of many major cases in India. The Narco analysis test is mostly used in the high profile.

It is a modern way of investigation which is scientific in nature. The word Narco-Analysis has been derived from the Greek term “torpor”. It is used to describe a diagnostic and psychotherapeutic technique that uses psychotropic drugs. It induces a stupor in which the mental elements with strongly associated effects come to the surface, where they can be exploited by the therapist.

The word Narco was coined for the first time by Horseley. Narco Analysis mainly gained popularity from 1922 onwards when it was used for the first time by a Texas obstetrician to know the confessions of two prisoners.

HOW NARCO TEST IS CONDUCTED?

Normally, the narco analysis done by the amalgamation of sodium pentothal or Sodium Amytal dissolved in 3000 ml of distilled water. This test is usually conducted to know the truth from the accused. When a person undergoes this test, his inhibition becomes so low that it becomes impossible to tell a lie and automatically he speaks the truth.

It is a kind of sleep-like state where the mind is so sub-conscious that one cannot escape just by lying. The dose of this differs according to a person’s gender, age, mental health, and physical health.

In the test, the person totally gets hypnotized and cannot speak at his own will. He can only speak something after he is questioned continuously and given hints and suggestions. Here the person goes into a semi-conscious stage and whatever he answers considered real.

The wrong dose or over-dosing can lead the person to coma or even death. That’s why special care is always taken while testing or giving this dose. While the interrogation process by the investigation agencies is done, the presence of the doctors is a must. All the confession and revelation are recorded both in audio and video form. Later, a report is made by the investigating officers which are used as evidence in the court of law. Usually, this test is conducted in government hospitals after the court passes the order. Free consent of the accused is a must in this test.

Have we ever realize that whether this kind of analysis legally right or wrong?

CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL VALIDITY OF NARCO TEST

Confession and Narco-Analysis are two different things. The former is valid whereas the latter is invalid. Article 20 (3) of the Indian Constitution speaks about crime investigation and trial process. Narco Analysis does not have any legality and if it is done then it is a clear violation of Article 20 (3) of the constitution. This article deals with the privilege against self-incrimination which is the fundamental canon of common law criminal jurisprudence.

Article 20 (3) says- “No person accused of any offense shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.”The Narco Analysis is a clear violation of fundamental rights as well as human rights.

NARCO ANALYSIS IN INDIA AND ITS ADMISSIBILITY

Though India is a democratic nation still Narco Analysis is practiced here. It has not received to be conducted on a regular basis openly but in some cases where it becomes necessary, it is conducted.

It has always been in the mainstream in Indian Criminal law. It is also practiced in the investigation process, court hearings, and laboratories in India.

In the case of State of Bombay Vs. Kathakali Oghad[1], the court observed that self-incrimination means conveying information basing upon the personal knowledge of a person and cannot include merely the mechanical way of producing documents in the court. This case was decided by 11 judges bench.

In another case named Nandini Satpathy Vs. P.L. Dani[2], the court held that no one can forcibly extract statements from the accused who has every right to be silent at the time of interrogation.

As we all know, we have a fundamental right called the right to privacy which is also applicable to an accused.  The right to privacy is an implicit right that is included under Article 21 of the Constitution. This Narco-Test also violates the right to privacy of a person.

In the case of Ram Jawayya Kapur’s case[3], the Supreme Court held that the executive power cannot interfere either in the constitutional right or liberty. It also said that if any law gets into conflict with fundamental rights, then the new law must be struck down as unconstitutional.

There is also another problem i.e. whether the narco-analysis is admissible in India?

The Narco-Analysis test is actually not admissible in the court of law. It says P300 tests are admissible in the courts but on the other hand, it is also claimed that confessions made by a semi-conscious person cannot be made admissible in the court as a piece of evidence.

As it is said that the person giving the statements shall not be in his senses, then how can we be sure that he will give all the statements by his own will. He might be manipulated by anyone.

The report of the Narco-Analysis test is admissible in the court but not totally. It is purely based on the circumstances.

In India, the Narco Analysis was first done in the year 2002 in the Godhra carnage case. This was after Arun Bhatt got kidnapped in Gujarat and the accused was appeared before the NHRC to undergo the narco test.

CRITICISMS OF THE NARCO- ANALYSIS TEST

The Narco Analysis Test are deprived of criticism and they are criticized on the following grounds-

  • It does not provide 100% accurate truth.
  • Give rises to false statements .
  • The drug given is of very less use in spilling the truth.
  • The test is doubtful.
  • Over dose may lead to coma of the subject.
  • Death may occur.
  • Even the investigating agency may take advantage by forcing the subject to confess according to them.
  • Violates the fundamental rights of an accused.
  • Violates the human rights of the accused.

Narco-Analysis test is valid in some countries and in some, it is still to get recognition and achieve legality.

CONCLUSION

Narco-Analysis has helped the police and investigating agency to find the truth in an easier manner. It has also been criticized as against the tenets of the constitution and on the other hand, has been upheld as a necessity to evaluate some complicated issues. It has both advantages and disadvantages of its own. This test has been made to extract the truth in a genuine manner and not in a coercive manner. It is the duty of the investigating agency, police authority, and the doctors concerned to conduct the test in a good faith.

REFERENCES

  1. www.frontline.thehindu.com
  2. www.legalservice.com
  3. www.supremecourtcases.com
  4. www.ncbi.nim.nih.gov

[1] AIR 1961 SC 1808

[2] AIR  1978 SC 1025

[3] (2) SC R 225


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